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“Free Range Peeps” by Mal Mclaughlin of Sunapee won first place in the adult category. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

Visitors enjoy a little '(Peep)ing' at annual Newport event

NEWPORT - More than 250 people attended the "Peeps Party" on Friday for the third annual Peeps Diorama Contest at the Library Arts Center. More than 70 dioramas featuring the sugar-coated marshmallow candies were displayed.

Visitors received Peeps-themed refreshments and roasted Peeps for s'more in the parking lot.

The competition has grown a little since last year, when just over 60 dioramas competed.

"It's fun. I always think it's fun to see how creative your neighbors can be," said gallery attendant Elaine Frank on Saturday.

The dioramas will remain on display for the next week.

"I just think it's so fun. You can't take it too seriously. Every single person that comes through this door laughs out loud. You can't help it. I tell everybody admission is free and if you don't like it you get your money back."

Frank said she loves the way the contest draws in the artistic efforts of all ages and abilities.

"In general, I think the Library Arts Center tends to bring art with a capital 'A' and a little 'a' to Newport, so some displays are pretty serious art and some are homegrown."

On Friday, the Best in Peeps went to "Cleopeeptra Peep, Queen of the Nile" by Cathryn and Paul Baird of Newport and their grandchildren Abby and Sam Scneiderhan of Toronto, Canada.

In the adult category, Mal Mclaughlin of Sunapee took first place with his "Free Range Peeps." Stephanie Zara of Unity was awarded second place for her "Bunzilla and the Peeps," and sisters Martha Cassidy of Sunapee and Beth Taylor of Newton, Mass., won third place with "Ted Peepity Wins Olympic Gold."

In the family and group category, employees of the Sugar River Bank in Newport won with "Sugar River Bank." The Fratzel family of Newport won second with "Camp Peeps" and Emily Guyett and Abby Paquin of Newport and Jessica Warkentien of Sunapee took third with "Dr. Frankinpeep's Mad Candy Laboratory."

In the children's category, Noell Bergeron of Sunapee won with "Peepza Hut," Alia and Adra Gonzalez of Newport won second with "Yellow Peep Road," and Uzma Malik and Aubry Porter of Sunapee took third place with "Eight Peeps at Tea."

The gallery is still taking votes for The Peep-les Choice Award. Entries from the Peeps Diorama Contest will be on display in the Library Arts Center Gallery until Saturday. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors can vote for their favorite diorama to receive The Peep-les Choice Award. The winner will be announced at the close of the show on Saturday.

The contest is modeled after others that have grown in popularity over the past decade, including contests hosted by urban news publications such as the Washington Post, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press and the Denver Post.

According to Arts Center executive director Kate Niboli, this is the only Peeps Diorama contest in the Upper Valley region, and possibly the only one in the state.



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